World Snooker Championship has boosted Sheffield's economy by £100m over 40 years

Crucible is transformed ready for the World Snooker Championships
Crucible is transformed ready for the World Snooker Championships

The World Snooker Championship has boosted Sheffield's economy by more than £100m over 40 years.

The annual championship has been held at the Crucible Theatre for 40 years and generates around 40,000 spectator admissions each year.

Spectators from outside Sheffield spend £1.8m in the city on accommodation, food and drink, shopping, local travel and other entertainment.

Visitors spending coupled with that of the players, the media, officials and the costs of running the championship generates an annual economic impact of £2.6m.

The research, conducted by Sheffield Hallam University’s Sport Industry Research Centre, shows that over the 40 years, there have been some 1.2m paid spectator admissions, with around three quarters of these by people visiting from outside Sheffield specifically to attend the snooker.

Every year the event generates more than 21,000 commercial bed-nights - in hotels, B&Bs and home rentals - in the city from visiting spectators, players, the media, and officials. Players have been known to purchase property in the city over the years; whilst some fans stay in Sheffield for the duration of the event.

The Crucible first hosted the event in 1977 with 16 players competing over 13 days for a modest top prize of £6,000. This year, the event will take place over 17 days for a top prize of £375,000.

Now, according to researchers, Sheffield is well established as the home of snooker, and is regularly named 'Snooker City.'

The city also receives significant broadcast exposure, with more than 100 hours of coverage on the BBC and Eurosport – which generates an estimated place marketing value of £3.2m for the city each year.

Peak audiences for the final in recent years have been five to six million viewers in the UK; whilst globally it is broadcast in more than 80 countries by 23 broadcasters to an audience of 330m.

Richard Coleman, principal researcher at Sheffield Hallam University’s Sport Industry Research Centre, said: “As we have demonstrated in our findings, the World Snooker Championship brings a significant annual boost to the Sheffield economy and has also been a great marketing vehicle for the city around the world; not least in economies such as Asia with whom the city is looking to forge links.

"Such benefits will be enhanced even further as this prestigious event remains at The Crucible until 2027 and its 50th anniversary in Sheffield.”

Katrina Bunker, editor of BBC Radio Sheffield, which commissioned the research, said: “Our city is understandably proud of its record in hosting one of the biggest events in the annual sporting calendar.

"The World Snooker Championship over the last 40 years has put Sheffield firmly on the international map.

"No-one has detailed the financial impact over the years and along with our partners at Sheffield Hallam University we wanted to fully understand what the championship has done for the local economy. It’s especially fitting to get that research in the 40th anniversary year.”